Derwenthorpe Partnership Advisory Committee (DPAC), and the Derwenthorpe Governing Group (DGG) will meet on Wednesday 22 July 2020, at 6pm, and 7:15pm respectively. Both are public meetings, and will be held on Zoom. Everyone is invited to attend (subject to Zoom’s 100 device limit).
Download these calendar files to add the meeting to your calendar. The Zoom link is in the calendar files, for your convenience. If you have trouble with these files, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday.
A bunch of keys has been found on Lotherington. Our neighbour found them about 10 days ago, apparently, on Lotherington. Please phone or text Ian on 07876123969 if you think they might be yours. They definitely look like Derwenthorpe keys.
Derwenthorpe resident Catherine Jardine asked Studio Partington -(who designed our houses) for advice about controlling summer heat. We start with some tips on how to use what you’ve got, and then there’s some advice about external shades that you can add. And if you want to learn more, there’s a guide from the NHBC, also written by Partington Studios.
Keeping your house cool
Good ventilation is … key. … Get cool air circulating through the house in the early morning and late evening and then close everything down once the external temperature [is above] the internal temperature (this is second nature in a Mediterranean climate, but not so in Yorkshire!).
The worst time is usually mid to late afternoon, when … heat is coming into the home directly from the sun and when the [air] temperature outside is also high, ….
So when it’s going to be a hot day (over, say, 19 degrees), keep your doors, windows, and blinds closed during the heat of the day to stop the house getting too hot: you can’t cool a house down with warm air, even if it is breezy. In the evening, when it’s cooled down again, open windows front and back to get the house cooled down again.
Check the windows and doors section of our house guide, to find out how to prop your windows open safely. Open them front and back, to allow cool air to flow through.
Some form of sunshading externally will certainly help prevent unwanted solar gains but there are some things to think about if a shading device is retrofitted. Firstly it is much easier to control south facing direct sunlight rather than east or west.
On a south side the sun is high and a structure projecting horizontally from above a window will shade the window by approximately the depth of the projection (sun being at 50 or so degrees height in June).
Low level east and west sun is much harder to control and is usually shaded with vertical fins or some kind of draw down external blind. Both of these are difficult (as is the traditional Mediterranean shutter) with the way we make windows in the UK, which are always outward opening to keep the rain out.
Note that close fitting internal blinds can also be effective, if you use them well.
I attach some examples of what can be done as a retro-fit. The … wall will need to support the load of the shade so there will often be struts or cables and fixings at several points back to the brick work.
As with most things the best solutions come from traditional simple to operate means such as shutters, which would work over non-opening windows, but there are more sophisticated and automated systems. The most innovative manufacturer is Renson, who do commercial and domestic shading systems.
The little guide we did a few years ago for NHBC (also attached) explains the problems we are starting too see in well insulated homes and although more of an issue in urban areas people are beginning to be concerned about rural schemes as well.
Global warming means we’re seeing longer, hotter summers. Air conditioning makes it worse: and is expensive to use, but shading and natural ventilation are free. So we hope this guide will be useful to you!
In 2019 Carey English set up a group for those interested in action for the prevention of global warming – a group which Nick Hall and Jean Lavers joined. It was a small group at first but nonetheless we planned and executed many events under the heading “Love Your Planet”. When Carey and Guy moved away at the end of 2019 we tried in vain to find a replacement as leader. Nick and Jean, called a meeting in January, deciding to promote the solar panels project in Derwenthorpe. Two other households had the same idea. We were convinced it was a good, long-term investment and a way of reducing our carbon emissions. As the Energy Saving Trust says:
Over the years Jean and Nick had sounded out Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust as to whether they were going to initiate a project to put solar panels on our roofs, let us keep some or all of the electricity generated, and sell surpluses to the grid. Our covenants on purchase of our houses allow them to do that. But by 2020 it was clear they weren’t going to. So, if we wanted solar panels, we would have to buy them ourselves. We decided to try. Making that decision felt good. Making a reality of it required much learning, much effort. It was a two-track process: (1) finding out if anyone else in Derwenthorpe was interested, and promoting the idea; and (2) was there anyone out there who we’d trust to clamber about on our roofs and put panels on, and get the wiring right and all the other equipment?
We formed a small working group: Jean Lavers, Nick Hall, Harriet Ennis, Chris Ennis, Richard Lane, Graham Smith and Ian Eiloart. We are non-expert Derwenthorpe residents except for Richard, who works in sustainable energy and kindly gave his time as a volunteer adviser. We got plenty of encouragement and useful advice from JRHT, particularly Joanne Lofthouse (Derwenthorpe Manager) and Owen Daggett (Sustainability Manager). Richard Partington and his colleagues, architects for Derwenthorpe, gave us both encouragement and very helpful technical advice.
1.Publicising the initiative
We began by designing a questionnaire, aimed at gauging what level of interest there might be in Derwenthorpe. How keen were residents to get (and pay for) this addition to their houses?
Then came lock-down. At that time (mid-March) no-one, we felt, would be interested. We went to sleep (got involved in other things) for a couple of months. Late April, though, the invitation came to put something into the newsletter “LotsOn in Lockdown”. Why not a 3-line item asking each reader what they thought of the idea? We got a couple of dozen positive responses.
We followed this up with an article on the DRA website, copied onto Facebook – this produced several more interested people – enough to know that we were going to get a group able to have a serious dialogue with suitable firms.
We also wanted to be sure that every household had the chance to consider the idea. We drew up a questionnaire, asking simply: do you want a no-obligation quote? Yes or No? Similar questions for a battery and whether the battery should be able to charge an electric vehicle. Thanks to some dedicated volunteers we got questionnaires to all the Derwenthorpe houses (some 450) by mid-July. About 20 new addresses came up as a result – 60 in all.
2. Choosing installer firms
The first concern (April/May 2020) was whether any firm was doing this kind of work, and could they do it under the various Covid-19 restrictions. And would they?
We obtained details of twelve firms from the relevant part of the Which? Trusted Trader list, plus two by recommendation from JRHT, who had used them on other projects. We wrote to them asking if they were interested and if there would be a discount on bulk purchase.
Our first check was whether or not they were listed under two quality control schemes: MCS and RECC.
MCS is the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme. MCS certifies low-carbon products and installations used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources. Having an installation certified by MCS means that any surplus power generated is acceptable to the grid.
RECC lists firms who have signed up to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, which governs things like technical site surveys, getting necessary permissions, contract documentation and customer care issues. https://www.recc.org.uk/scheme
We sent a Request for Information to five of the firms, selected from the original set as being listed under both MCS and RECC schemes and being not far away (the furthest being Leicester). From people we had heard from as being interested in the project we had 16 addresses whose residents were happy for the five firms to estimate, by desk-top survey, what a system would cost. (The prices were expected to vary from house to house according to the size of the roof and its orientation, etc.). We asked each firm about:
Price per property for installation etc. of a grid-connected solar array
Price per property for appropriate battery
Discount per property if the project were for 25 or more households
Health & Safety, including precautions against CV 19
Sub-contracting, e.g. for scaffolding
Contracts, rectifying snags, etc.
The firms sent back much documentation, about the panels they were likely to install, about the inverters (required to convert the DC which the panels generate into usable AC power) and about batteries; also about their working practices, contracts etc.
The working group met by Zoom on 8th July 2020 and we pooled our knowledge and understanding of the bids; agreed to include design of panels in the evaluation (we preferred black); and discussed differences between the firms’ contracts and documentation. We decided to recommend to residents two firms – ASK Renewables and Carbon Legacy. (See at end for contact details.)
3. Open-Air Real Live Socially Distanced Meeting
Both these firms said they were willing to come and talk to residents, and several of the households who were in touch said they would like to meet and discuss the scheme. We fixed Saturday 1st August as a good date; and Joanne was happy for us to have the event on the un-enclosed grass space outside the SSC. We wanted a serious hearing and discussion, and above all a safe one. So we only invited people who’d already been in touch. Just under 30 people came, from 20 households. The weather was kind, we could all hear and be heard (only one noisy aircraft interrupted) and we learned much about both theory and practicalities.
From there on it’s been up to each household to make contact with and deal with one or both of these firms – and if satisfied with what’s been offered enter into a contract with the chosen firm.
4. Covenants with Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust
When we bought our houses we accepted a covenant to get consent from JRHT before installing solar panels on our roofs. They agree in principle. Each household should, before committing themselves to a date for starting work on site, send them details of what’s proposed: number of panels, fixing detail, how they ‘ll be arranged on the roof – a drawing if possible. Both the firms are aware of this and will help supply the details. We need to allow 3 to 4 weeks for the trustees’ consent to be obtained.
5. Other consents
In order to connect the electricity you generate to the grid (so you can sell any surplus) you need consent from the DNO (District Network Operator). This may take time – but the installer will take care of the process. The one for our area is Northern Powergrid – for enquiries ring 0845 070n7172.
6. Update latest
ASK Renewables say that they have contacted the names on the list we sent them. They have done 11 visits and issued quotes on each; 2 have applied to JRHT for consent. They have a further 7 visits planned. Carbon Legacy have 20 people on their list as interested in having a site visit, have visited 9 and booked another 5 for September. Their first 9 quotes are ready to go out.
7. Is it too late to join in?
No! Send your name and address, email and any other contact details to either or both of the recommended firms, and they will make all the necessary arrangements with you. Or give them a call!
Join us TONIGHT 21st August at 7.30 – 8.30pm for a quiz with a difference. Anyone can be a winner in this fun game of knowledge and chance. You’ll answer questions from some of your favourite categories and, when the answers are randomly revealed, you could score four corners, a straight line or even full house!
Answer sheets are a bit different than a normal quiz. You’ll need four pages of A4 with giant noughts and crosses grids. There are nine questions in each round. Number each grid 1-9 in RANDOM ORDER. Or, print the “quiz-bingo answer sheets” document. Click the green link below to download it. The document also has an example of the scoring.
‘Doors will open’ at 7.15pm. We look forward to seeing you.
If you haven’t used Zoom before please check out tinyurl.com/sn38bto or phone 0771 287 2343 for advice. Registration is not required, but we’ll be closing the doors promptly at 7:35, and we’ll be limiting the number of connections, on a first come, first served basis.
Join us on Friday night 21st August at 7.30 – 8.30pm for a quiz with a difference. Anyone can be a winner in this fun game of knowledge and chance. You’ll answer questions from some of your favourite categories and, when the answers are randomly revealed, you could score four corners, a straight line or even full house!
To play you’ll need pen and paper and access to the internet and Zoom. (If you haven’t used Zoom before please check out tinyurl.com/sn38bto or phone 0771 287 2343 for advice). Registration is not required, but we’ll be closing the doors at 7:35, and we’ll be limiting the number of connections, on a first come, first served basis.
The Zoom link will be published here on Friday.
‘Doors will open’ at 7.15pm. We look forward to seeing you.
Over the last weekend we had a terrific opportunity to see and hear some of the talent of Derwenthorpe residents. Here are some photos of the art on display and musician’s performances. I didn’t make it around all the estate so if you have any pictures of some I missed, please add them in comments below.
Click the link to see the August-September LotsOn In Lockdown, which should be coming through your letterbox over the coming few days. There’s a lot more going on than we expected and space was tight in this issue. Hoping there’s something for you; if not please let us know in the comments below what you’d like to see.